More with APRS

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Posted by w0ep on June 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm

[Today’s run: 7 miles with Boardtown Runners]

Years ago I ran an APRS digipeater.  Now I am trying to resurrect my APRS station,  in receive mode only, to use as a propagation indicator for VHF SSB/CW.

I’ve made some progress.  I have the radio and the computer talking to each other.  I’m getting some signals through the radio.  Not very many, but a few.

And I’ve been working on a script (program) in Perl which captures the data coming into the computer and shows the guts of the packet.  It will also print the distance and direction from my lat/long to the lat/long reported in the radio packet.

What I want to end up with is something which will send me an alert of some kind (email, text message, ?) when I start to receive packets  from stations that are more than XX miles away.  I want it to tell me the direction and distance.

APRS is a radio mode used by Hams for tracking.  You build a little box and put it in your car/bicycle/etc which has a radio, GPS, and the smarts to connect the two.  Depending on how smart your “smarts” box is, it will send out little tracking packets when you turn corners or when you have gone a certain time/distance since the last time it squealed.  Various people around the country run what are called “digipeaters”, digital repeaters.  If you are in range of one of those your little squeal will get repeated.  And there are gateways into the internet and maps which show where people are, etc. etc.  all of the normal internet stuff.

I’m not doing it for the coolness of tracking someone.  Since all of this goes on as people drive around, I’m going to listen for those signals.  When we get a propagation anomaly  I’ll get some notification and I can run to my radio, point the antenna, and maybe talk to someone who is normally out of my range at those frequencies.

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